Album review: Underworld – Barking (Cooking Vinyl)

Forays into experimentation show that Karl Hyde and Rick Smith should stick to what they do best

In the ’90s, everyone loved [a]Underworld[/a] and feared the millennium bug. Hence, it makes odd sense that the band has been misfiring consistently since 1999’s [b]‘Beaucoup Fish’[/b]. With [b]‘Barking’[/b], they manage to spark into life just twice. [b]‘Bird 1’[/b] and [b]‘Move In Water’[/b] are, in the vein of classic [a]Underworld[/a], simultaneously danceable and menacingly strange. Elsewhere, though, this collaboration-heavy eighth album tends to fail when it experiments: [b]‘Louisiana’[/b] is a tediously mournful love song, and [b]‘Diamond Jigsaw’[/b] a baffling [a]Doves[/a]-style stadium-indie anthem. Elsewhere, there are time-warping forays into bland house, formulaic drum’n’bass and (shudder) chill-out music. Remember that? No? Good.

[b]Niall O’Keeffe[/b]

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